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Weber State makes emphatic statement in win over Montana

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Montana’s 24-game Big Sky regular season win streak came to a crashing halt on Thursday night as they fell at Weber State by the final score of 87-63.

And the only aspect of this game that should surprise anyone is the margin of victory.

Randy Rahe’s Wildcats controlled proceedings from the start, shooting 58.2% and never trailing in a game they led by as many as 28 points. Kyle Tresnak led the way with 19 points and Weber State thoroughly frustrated Montana’s perimeter tandem of Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar, with the latter scoring just five points and turning the ball over four times before fouling out.

Weber State’s win pulls them to within a game of the Grizzlies in the race for the Big Sky, with the regular season champion receiving the honor of hosting the conference tournament. But unlike last season the Wildcats look more than capable of beating Montana in Missoula if it comes to that, even though last year’s group was led by eventual NBA lottery pick Damian Lillard.

Four players reached double figures tonight and on the season Weber State has three players averaging double figures, with four other players averaging between seven and nine points per contest.

Starters Tresnak, Davion Berry (16 points) and Frank Otis (14) reached double figures with sophomore guard Gelaun Wheelwright adding 14 off the bench. And with Scott Bamforth and Jordan Richardson also capable of putting points on the board, the question of who to take away becomes a tough one to answer for the opposition.

By comparison Montana has three players in Cherry, Jamar and Mathias Ward capable of carrying the load but their supporting cast doesn’t have the depth that Weber State enjoys.

Weber State leads the Big Sky in many of the major statistical categories both offensively and defensively, but that 0-2 weekend in Montana (losing at Montana State two days before dropping a 76-74 decision at Montana on January 26) is the reason why the Wildcats find themselves in the role of chaser with five games remaining.

Having home court in the Big Sky tournament is certainly something Weber State will shoot for in these last five games. But Thursday’s result is a clear indication that the venue for a possible third meeting won’t mean as much as it did last season.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

WATCH LIVE: St. Bonaventure hosts Saint Louis on NBCSN

St. Bonaventure's Denzel Gregg celebrates after they defeated St. Joseph's after an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Philadelphia.  (Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP) PHIX OUT; TV OUT; MAGS OUT; NEWARK OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
(Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
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St. Bonaventure is looking to keep pace with the Atlantic 10’s elite as they host Saint Louis on Sunday afternoon. You can watch this A-10 contest live on NBCSN at 2:00 p.m. EST.

Coming off of a huge road win at Saint Joseph’s, the Bonnies (14-6, 6-3) have won two consecutive games with a winnable stretch of two more before a key conference clash with George Washington. The trio of Marcus Posley (19.1 ppg), Jaylen Adams (18.5 ppg) and Dion Wright (16.2 ppg) has been putting up a ton of points this season and slowing down that group will be the focal point of the Saint Louis defense.

The Billikens (8-13, 3-6) are coming off of two consecutive double-digit losses and will try to regroup on the road. Senior guard Ash Yacoubou paces the Saint Louis offense at 12.2 points per game and junior guard Mike Crawford (10.9 ppg) is the only other player averaging double-figures.

These two teams will play again on March 5 when the Bonnies head to the Midwest.

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Some conference matchups play out before football

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, left, reacts after scoring a basket against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Oregon defeated Utah 77-59. (AP Photo/George Frey)
(AP Photo/George Frey)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Utah at No. 16 Oregon, 4:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

Utah suffered one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a while on Thursday night, when Brandon Taylor, for some unknown reason, decided to foul an Oregon State player firing up a half court prayer at the buzzer. The Utes, who are arguably the second-best team in the Pac-12, will look to bounce-back on Sunday against the best team in the Pac-12, No. 16 Oregon at 4:00 p.m.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. No. 12 SMU will attempt to stay atop the American standings as they travel to South Florida. While the Mustangs won the first matchup between these two teams at home by 14, they’ve dropped their last two games on the road.

2. A few more American contests are going down as East Carolina travels to UConn and Houston heads to Tulsa. The game between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane is especially interesting because both teams are sitting two games back of SMU and trying to make a move on the postseason.

3. No. 5 Iowa continues the soft part of the schedule as they face Illinois on the road. The Hawkeyes posted recent easy victories over Northwestern and Penn State and will be heavily favored again on Sunday.

4. Could be an intriguing game as No. 17 Miami travels to Georgia Tech. Although the Yellow Jackets aren’t a major contender in the ACC, they’ve been tough this season, especially at home. The Hurricanes fell victim to Georgia Tech last season while they were ranked by Marcus Georges-Hunt has to get back on track after a recent slump for that to happen.

5. There is an Atlantic 10 game that will be featured on NBCSN on Sunday: Saint Louis at St. Bonaventure (2:00 p.m.).

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.